We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. Colossians 1:3-8
The trademark of the Colossians was faith and love that sprung from hope. What do you hope? How’s your hope? This isn’t “I hope I win the lottery, so I can pay off the church’s debt.” I’m not sure that the lottery is your best investment. This isn’t “I hope I get a promotion and a big raise for doing mediocre work and putting forth as little effort as possible.” This isn’t “I hope that my weight will magically disappear while I sleep.” Unless you’re sleeping on an exercise bike, you and I both know, it won’t happen.
This is hope based on two things: a home in Heaven and the Word of the Gospel. It’s not hope in hope. It’s hope in things that are lasting and true. It’s not hoping that things will just get better. It’s hope that says that no matter what happens, God is with us, and that’s enough reason to hope.
Some of us have had this hope for so long that the significance of it might have worn off a little bit. I have been a Christian for just shy of 40 years. I wasn’t much of a heathen before that. All I have ever known is growing up in church and following Christ. There are a lot of great things about that. The only problem is that God has been a part of my life for so long, I’m not as aware of His hope. I really don’t know what it’s like to be hope-less.
When our oldest son Samuel went back to the hospital for round two as a baby, we had already been wrung through the wringer emotionally. We prayed many prayers for his healing, only to watch him get sicker. We almost lost him. Then, after months of intensive care, we finally got to go home. We were home for one month. Then, we were headed back to the hospital.
About three days into the second hospital stay, our social worker who had walked us through some of the darkest days of our lives, called us into her office. She said, “It’s so good to have people like you here, because you have hope.” I just about fell off of my chair. She had seen us so devastated, questioning God, questioning everything, exhausted and at our wits end. How could she see hope?
Our hope was in Christ. It wasn’t something that we had to work up or maintain as a good Christian example of suffering to the hospital staff. Hope is what we possess in Christ.
For believers, we don’t need five easy steps to become more hopeful. Hope is already ours. Out of that hope grow faith and love.
This hope doesn’t promise that everything will work out the way that we want it to. But, this hope promises something better: a home in Heaven and the salvation of our souls. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
How’s your hope today? What do you need hope for? God has the hope that you need.
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